Eco-design of Power Supplies

The EU Commission has instituted regulation 2019/1782 laying down eco-design directives for external power supplies. Effective October 2019, this regulation defines the conformity assessment procedure and benchmarks for power supply efficiency.

Energy Efficiency - Ecodesign Requirements for Servers

The New Wave of Gaming: A Hypothetical Product Release

For example, let us consider a fictional Japanese company called “Intendro” that makes video entertainment systems. Intendro has plans for a new game console, the GamePrism. It will release in Europe and North America. Given that Intendro executives wish to comply with eco-design regulations of their power supplies, they will need to consider several facets of their new system before fabrication and shipping:

Ecodesign Requirement for External Power Supplies
  • They should identify the components responsible for power storage, conversion, transmission, and consumption.
  • They must determine how much power the GamePrism consumes during each operating mode.
  • They should consider how environmental label requirements might apply to the power supply. They should also know how accessible this information must be to consumers and retailers.

Indeed, Intendro’s design team knows that new products containing an external power source must adhere to the relevant environmental regulations. The international edition of the GamePrism operates using 120V mains. It is capable of stepping down some higher voltages internally. As a result, each product unit comes packaged with:

  • the console
  • one brick-style AC-to-DC converter
  • one 240V/120V European voltage adapter
  • one wireless controller with a USB-powered wireless charging dock
  • a game from a popular franchise, bundled as a launch title
Eco-design console

What Qualifies as a Power Supply under the Eco-design Regulation?

Before the GamePrism’s alpha release, Intendro’s design team must look at these components and consider how power transfer occurs in the console overall. Depending on how these components behave, eco-design regulation 2019/1782 may apply to the product. The team knows the operating voltage and voltage conversion capabilities of the GamePrism. How can they determine whether their power supply falls under design guidelines?

Clearly, consumer electronics can have complicated power demands. An external power supply is therefore governed separately from the rest of the product. A sample breakdown of the GamePrism reveals that:

  • The console is classified as a load, regardless of its internal voltage-converting capabilities. It does not fall under the regulation.
  • The European voltage adapter is considered an AC-to-AC voltage converter; it is also not considered.
  • The wireless controller is a load (battery), while the charging dock qualifies as a charger lacking a power supply function. Thus, neither component falls under regulations.
  • The launch title can help test the average and maximum console power draw. The disc itself and software, however, clearly do not qualify.
  • The AC-to-DC power supply converts mains AC power to component-level DC power. It is a prime candidate for consideration under regulation 2019/1782.
Eco-design of Power Supplies
Eco-design of Power Supplies - Exclusions

An external power supply converts mains AC power to component level. This definition covers a wide range of applications, although many devices involved in power transmission are not power supplies: batteries, converters, and charging docks are just a few examples.

Efficiency Standards Under (EU) 2019/1782 - Eco-design of Power Supplies

Initially, the GamePrism undergoes its first tests. It shows efficient operation when playing media but performs below industry average as a game computer. (These data come from direct measurement.) This information about the supply can help determine both its average active efficiency and its no-load power consumption. Here are some hypothetical parameters for the GamePrism, including data from actual market-leading consoles.

Parameter (HD mode)

Competitor 1

Competitor 2

GamePrism

Active Mode, gameplay

199.0 W

153 W

208 W

DVD playback

54.1 W

48 W

50.5 W

Blu-Ray playback

53.3 W

50 W

49 W

Rest mode with no connectivity

0.36 W

0.5 W

0.8 W

Of course, the Intendro team wants to meet eco-design standards. A typical power supply should have an average active efficiency above 86% (the precise value changes with the overall power output). Similarly, the supply’s maximum no-load power consumption should fall between 100 and 300 milliwatts, depending on the application. These two eco-design efficiency standards are the main points of compliance under 2019/1782.

Let us return to the Gameprism: when operating at high power output, the regulation states that its power brick must operate at a minimum efficiency of 88%. In mid-power modes, however, the required minimum efficiency varies as a function of the output power with

mid-power modes (EU) 2019/1782 Annex I
Source: (EU) 2019/1782 Annex I
Efficiency vs power supply descriptive

The design team must respect this minimum efficiency. The boundary applies during every step of any of these mid-power modes.

Demonstrate Your Product’s Compliance Properly

Finally, power supplies are subject to environmental labeling requirements in most markets. Producers of power supplies destined for the global marketplace must provide extensive information for consumers and retailers. A large company like Intendro would need to know the environmental label requirements across each region they sell their products. The Roman Numeral system used in the International Efficiency Marking Protocol is one example of labeling standards for external power supplies:

Power Supply Efficiency Level VI

Do you have a product approaching the market that contains an external power supply? Let our experts at Enviropass help you meet compliance with this and other eco-design requirements.

Eco-design of Power Supplies